Welfare rights 2/22/2013 Welfare rights is an activity aimed at ensuring that people are aware of and receiving their maximum entitlement to state welfare benefits. It has been established in the United Kingdom since 1969 and has also been developed in other countries including Ireland,Australia and the United States. It became necessary because of the complexity of the UK social security system and had links at the time with a growing Claimants Union movement. As local authorities realised the advantages of having well-informed front-line staff such as housing officers and social workers, who often have to deal with benefit queries as part of their wider tasks, they turned to welfare rights staff to provide that expertise for both training and handling complex cases. In the 1980s, as local authorities took on the wider 'equalities' agenda, anti-poverty work was seen as a valid local activity in itself. Increasing benefit income helps individuals but also boosts the local economy.